Thanksgiving Test

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The danger of writing about skill is that occasionally someone asks you to put your money where your mouth is.

That someone happens to be my lovely wife, Jen. The ask? To cook the Thanksgiving turkey.

After all, she said, cooking a turkey is just another skill, like hitting a tennis ball or learning a language. Plus, she said, it’s incredibly manly.

I protested, to no avail.

“You always say you have to get outside your comfort zone,” she said.

I agree that it’s outside the comfort zone. The question is whether it’s outside the salmonella zone.

So I’m doing a crash course. I’ve been checking out the work of my friends Carri Thurman of Two Sisters Bakery in Homer, Alaska, and Jenny Rosencrans and Andy Ward at Dinner: A Love Story.

On the advice of my brilliant neighbor Michael Rulhman, I’m going with the “roast and braise” technique, which appears to involve a considerable amount of joint-cutting, lemons, and white wine. (Not all for the turkey, either.)

The knives are sharp. The fridge is full. Thirty people arriving on Thursday.

So my question is: do you have any turkey advice? After all, this is the time of year we acknowledge our dependence on others — and I need coaching!

UPDATE:

I’m happy to report that (whew!) all went well. We ended up changing strategies at the last minute, going with a classic roast technique. We stuffed it with lemons, onions, sage, parsley, and oregano, with plenty of butter and salt. Four hours, breast down, then a quick flip, and it was done.
My neighbor did the deep-fryer technique, injecting beforehand with Cajun spices. The setup looked like a meth lab. It also tasted pretty great. Might have to think about that for next year…. Thanks for the help, everybody, and happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for all of you.


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8 Responses to “Thanksgiving Test”

  1. Dan Peterson says:

    Dan,
    Give the white wine to your wife, go out and buy a turkey deep fryer, http://bit.ly/TfzQqO, and a case of expensive beer (for yourself and guests) then do everything The Frugal Chef does: http://youtu.be/Hznx7Ky5EUI

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Dan

  2. djcoyle says:

    That sounds like VERY good advice. Esp the part about the wine and beer.

  3. Doc says:

    Check out the website The Art of Manliness. There are some articles on Carving a Turkey as well as others that may be of benefit

  4. Carri says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Dan! Looking forward to your update on how it all worked out. Sending Big Love to you and Jenny and the kids!

  5. Larry says:

    That’s one training session where even a 25% mistake rate, my not be a successful outcome.

  6. djcoyle says:

    I’m happy to report that (whew!) all went well. We ended up changing strategies at the last minute, going with a classic roast technique. We stuffed it with lemons, onions, sage, parsley, and oregano, with plenty of butter and salt. Four hours, breast down, then a quick flip, and it was done.
    My neighbor did the deep-fryer technique, injecting beforehand with Cajun spices. The setup looked like a meth lab. It also tasted pretty great. Might have to think about that for next year…. Thanks for the help, everybody, and happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for all of you.

  7. Dan:

    Sorry I didn’t see this post until after Thanksgiving. Oh well. I can still help. :-)

    Watch this video – it gives the best turkey advice on the planet.
    http://bit.ly/gINZcZ

    Note: Follow the video, NOT the written instructions below it, because there are mistakes in it.

    In the spirit of practice, keep in mind that turkey is very yummy year-round food, so no sense waiting until next November. Get in some deep practice between now and then!! Say, once a month, buy a whole turkey, preferably cut into parts by your purveyor so you don’t have to do it, and then get roasting.

    The Coyle family will eat very well. And by next Thanksgiving, you’ll be able to do this little task with your eyes closed. :-)

    Susan

  8. djcoyle says:

    Hey Susan, That’s so kind of you! I’m watching the video over and over to prepare for Christmas. Happy Hols to you and yours. Best, Dan

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